How to benefit from the opportunities in the realm of social shopping?

There has been a wide coverage of Facebook’s new features in the media. As already reported, developers can now build a Facebook commerce-driven experience, which is more relevant to avid shoppers and offer more effective social discovery also for sellers. They can get insights into user preferences and use the data to promote their products better. All these new opportunities are going to make shopping experience on the popular networking site more social and richer. Here are a few ways the changes are likely to fuel social commerce.

A new level of relevance is made possible as far as the Facebook shopping experience is concerned thanks to custom Open Graph gestures. By enabling new buttons like ‘Want’, ‘Own’, ‘Love’ etc, users can express themselves about a product more specifically. Consequently, News Feed stories can be customized so as to generate phrases like ‘so and so reviewed’ or ‘liked’ a product. Such posts will lead to more enhanced social discovery in comparison to a simple ‘Like’.

The new buttons can be used to enrich the overall social shopping experience and feel within Facebook storefronts. For instance, one can check who ‘owns’ a particular product and connect with other people for recommendations. This feature will enable sellers in the future to better engage with shoppers. For instance, if they know that a user already owns a product, they might request for a review.

The new Ticker generates a persistent real-time stream sellers can utilize for publicizing products, just as it lets users discover music that their friends are tuning to. However, developers should publish only those activities shoppers consent to promote.

As part of the design changes, the networking site will aggregate application activity for building persistent modules on one’s Timeline. An array of social shopping widgets will post to an individual’s profile like holiday/ birthday wish lists. These lists are automatically created on basis of the custom action buttons.

By adding product-focused lists to one’s profile, one can let others know what one wants, and make it much easier for them to know what to get for those special occasions. The Ticker will play a part in promoting these personal wish lists. Just ‘Want’ a recently launched product and a fresh Ticker story will be generated automatically.

Developers will enjoy a greater control over the content shown in the permissions dialog, and thus can far better articulate how a user’s data will be utilized. Social shopping applications can tell about the type of data to be used and its benefits to the shopper. A permissions dialog can well explain that a person’s Facebook interests will be put to use for providing product recommendations and customized deals. This could, in turn, increase the users’ participation.

You might in the near future click on a special ‘invite friends to shop’ button put within a social storefront to generate a targeted in the Ticker post that reveal what you are shopping. Once a friend clicks on it, he or she can discuss choices and recommendations in comment box. That first-hand feedback might be part of the store’s public comments, or may be kept private.

These kinds of interactive experiences will be the hallmark of the new social shopping experience.